3AKQsOaW 2023 Lexus GX 550 5
2023 Lexus GX 550 5

Lexus adds fair dinkum 4×4

Riley Riley

You can view the Lexus GX as either an upmarket Prado or perhaps downmarket LX.

Either way it makes an interesting addition to lineup and one that is sure to attract more sales to the luxury brand.

Although the Prado-based GX has been around for more than 20 years, the third generation GX represents a first for this country — although not confirmed yet for Australia.

And this version sits on the same platform as the big LX, rather than the smaller Prado.

The all-new seven-seater is positioned between the RX and LX in the Lexus SUV line-up and offers a broad mix of performance and occupant carrying flexibility.

Globally, it will be available with the choice of two powertrains:

  • 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission
  • 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol hybrid and newly developed eight-speed automatic transmission

First introduced to the North American market in 2002, GX is a fair dinkum 4×4.

Both powertrains employ a full-time all-wheel drive set-up with a low-range transfer case and locking centre differential.

From the front, a subtle, black frameless version of the signature grille with an upturned lower bumper section.

The LED headlights closely resemble its larger LX sibling, framed by L-shaped daytime running lights.

Below the headlights sit grille openings extending downwards to accommodate the sub-radiator required for improved cooling.

The commanding bonnet is designed with a concave center like the LX that not only accentuates the Lexus spindle body but also improves forward visibility.

From the side, the GX’s off-roading intent is clear, with a high bonnet line, A-pillars pulled more upright, a vertically oriented tailgate and a 2850mm wheelbase, matching the LX.

Like other Lexus SUVs, a single LED light strip runs across the width of the tailgate, accompanied by ‘LEXUS’ lettering and compact combination tail lights.

The tailgate also features an opening for the upper glass compartment, allowing easy access to the cargo area.

GX offers a modern and comfortable cabin, with steering wheel switches seamlessly paired with the head-up display, and a clean, horizontal/vertical dashboard layout enhancing the driver’s perception of vehicle posture off road.

A 14-inch centre display uses a combination of touchscreen and buttons for the multimedia system, with particular emphasis given to the size, shape, layout and display information of the switches for an intuitive user experience.

The GX’s centre console is designed with off-roading in mind, with driving and drivetrain switches placed on the driver’s side.

The flexible second-row seat configuration allows customers to choose between a bench seat or captain’s chairs, while the third row brings seven-seat flexibility and when not required can be stowed neatly into the floor with an electric folding mechanism.

The new GX suspension system uses a high-mount double-wishbone arrangement at the front, with engineers fine-tuning the coil spring rate while increasing the caster trail and minimising the king pin offset to promote excellent stability during straight-line driving, cornering and braking.

At the rear, a four-link rigid axle with lateral control arms is used, developed to offer greater wheel articulation off road.

Adaptive variable suspension improves on-road ride comfort and handling stability, with both front and rear suspension using shock absorbers featuring independent telescopic valves and friction control modules.

Thanks to its packaging, the 26-degree approach angle has been increased by five degrees compared to the previous model while reducing front overhang by 20mm.

To complement the adventure-focused lifestyles of GX customers, Lexus offers a special five-seat Overtrail variant which adopts exclusive functional and design features essential for a rugged off-road vehicle.

More than just a series of visual upgrades, the Overtrail introduces the E-KDSS suspension system for the first time on a Lexus, offering independent control of the front and rear electric stabilisers to further improve wheel articulation and grip in off-road conditions.

Multi-Terrain Select controls the system’s drive control and suspension to offer six drive modes (Auto, Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock) for improved performance on all surfaces.

Crawl control offers five low-speed settings allowing drivers to traverse uneven terrain without operating the accelerator or brakes, while Downhill Assist Control automatically and independently adjusts the hydraulic pressure of each wheel brake when descending steep slopes.

A multi-terrain monitor uses cameras mounted on the front, sides and rear to display high-definition images of the vehicle’s surroundings including underneath the vehicle floor, helping the driver accurately position the wheels and avoid unforeseen obstacles.

A full suite of Lexus Safety System + active safety technologies is included on the GX, which can help provide maximum protection for occupants and other road users.


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